Posting in Architecture
We recently profiled the PiCycle, PiMobility's newest electric bike. With its amazing performance and stunning design I couldn't help but call it the coolest electric bike ever. In effort to learn more about PiMobility and the electric bike business in general I've asked PiMobilility’s founder Marcus Hays to join us.
We recently profiled the PiCycle, PiMobility’s newest electric bike. With its amazing performance and stunning design I couldn't help but call it the coolest electric bike ever. In effort to learn more about PiMobility and the electric bike business in general I've asked PiMobilility’s founder Marcus Hays to join us. Marcus has been producing and developing innovative electric vehicles and bicycles since 1995 when employed as a consultant to automotive industry titan, Lee Iacocca. Marcus also had the extraordinary privilege of working with the famed Dr. Paul MacCready, inventor and developer of GM's first electric car, "EV-1". In 2008 Marcus established an electric motorcycle land speed record at the Bonneville Land Speed Record Trials going 68 miles per hour.
Marcus….What’s the latest news in the Battle of Bike vs. Car? Are bikes gaining some ground?
Bikes are gaining ground (insert rousing cheer here) evidenced by so-called “Transportation Bikes” now becoming the hottest segment of the US bike industry. The growing popularity of these designs directly correlates I believe to the increasing number of dedicated bikeways being installed by municipalities nationwide. Bicycles are easily the least expensive technology available to reduce the impacts of climate change, dependency on foreign oil and while we’re at it, a public health crisis called obesity.
Where do electric bikes fit into the mix?
Making the leap to bicycle from automobile is an order of magnitude in technology (I believe forward) that electric bikes overcome via a silent electric motor that provides a much needed power boost on hills otherwise limited to athletes. The implications of this technology are therefore clear.
How has the technology evolved?
Lithium batteries have reduced end-product weight by 70% while doubling per charge range. There have also been significant improvements in charging technology such that recharging periods are typically half hat they were just 2 years ago. Battery cycle life – a cost factor that directly bears on cost per mile – is in some cases triple what is was just 3 years ago. All of this equates to cheaper, better, faster and longer range electric vehicles. I believe it’s safe to assume that all modes of transportation will be battery powered in the not too distant future.
Who is the ideal customer for an electric bike?
Smaller, lighter batteries have fostered product development maturity within the bike industry as a whole that results now in a raft of products offering performance and styles as varied as traditional non-electric alternatives. Previous and longstanding assumptions that electric bicycles were the exclusive territory of the aged or infirm are now shattered. For example college students desiring low cost, low-carbon transit (back to the no license and registration piece) are no longer simply auto-centric. Perhaps the biggest shift we’ve seen is demand from 30 something urbanites who, shedding car ownership for a variety of reasons, are replacing their cars with electric bicycles. However because these folks demand quality and style equal to their computers and portable electronic devices, and because the PiCycle is one of the few purpose-built electric bicycles, we’re becoming a favorite among this group.
Tell us about PiMobility. How did your company come about and what are your plans?
Pi Mobility is an offshoot of a 4-wheel electric hybrid endeavor dating to 1995. However when Lee Iacocca retained my services in 1998 for an electric bicycle specific project I became enamored with the concept. However traditional electric bicycle making based on intersecting tubes resulted in end products either dull or duller and so it’s highly gratifying to discover with the introduction of the PiCycle there are lots and lots of people who share my sentiment. PiCycle’s architecture is also versatile enough that model variations are virtually unlimited. In the not too distant future “Pi” will be serving up a three-wheel commercial vehicle and a 100mph road-legal fully electric cruiser will debut in 2010.
How much do your bikes cost?
PiCycle begins at $2,499 and options are as deep as one’s imagination. Made-in-USA permits just-in-time inventory levels that invite rich customization while profit margins are simultaneously enhanced.
Where can folks see and touch one?
Pi Mobility is currently focusing its dealer and distribution efforts in California and Italy. At this moment however the best place to see, touch and ride a Pi is at the Sausalito factory.
To Visit Pi Mobility and watch some cool videos, Click Here
Oct 25, 2009
Bikes in the future will be smaller more torque and hp they will be automatic and the clutch will disappear. I believe that bikes would change dramatically since all this new technology is happening. Some bikes like touring bikes and cruiser bikes would probably have a lot more features and more upgrades. They probably would have a four wheeled motorcycle that is street legal and have all safe rights just like cars. http://electricscootersworld.com/
Another green technology blunder. I'll charge that with my coal, natural gas powered electric power plant at my wall socket. Seriously just get a regular bike and get some exercize, but don't fart while peddling or the liberal left leaning party will tax you !!!!
Given the current sources of elecric power generation, electric bikes,cars...whatever, should be referred to as "Coal Powered Vehicles"
O.K.,... Call me crazy, but the hippie west coast mentality has gotten me so worked up lately that I just had to spout off on this one. First, the price,....WHAT??? Are you crazy??? Who the heck in their right mind would pay that much for an electric bike? I could take a regular Huffy for goodness sake and retro fit it with my kids barbie jeep motor and a few batteries for a couple of hundred bucks. Second,.. It makes absolutly NO sense whatsoever to use this bike in the 65% of the country that gets SNOW!!! Try riding this little gem to work on a cold January morning on the east coast and you'll be lucky if that little wonder of a battery pack will get you 10 feet let alone 10 miles. If you've lived through a Minnesota, Michigan, or ANY Midwest winters,.. you'll know it gets pretty darn cold for about 6 months of the year. Third, Isin't the whole idea of a bicycle supposed to be that you use your own body to power it? I mean isin't that the whole reason why people ride bikes anyway, so we don't have to worry about pollution as much. On second hand,...wouldn't you be breathing in more pollution for a much longer period of time if you rode your "Electric Bike"? Hmmmmmm... perhaps a bubble bike might be the way to go! Finally,... If you're going to toot your horn about all the wonderful benefits electric power, then you'd better start thinking about what ALL that lithium in those battery packs will do to our landfills when Joe Green throws his old ones in the trash. http://www.lenntech.com/periodic/elements/li.htm
I recently read that there are over 12 million in China. The weak link with any electric vehicle is the battery but that is changing. Following is a picture of a home built ebike that runs on what is probably the most advanced battery available. It is parked adjacent to a pricey commercial ebike, or is it a moped? http://biodiversivist.blogspot.com/2009/10/a2b-verses-a123.html
I recently read that there are 12 million ebikes in China. The battery is the weakest link, as with all electric vehicles but that is changing fast. Here's a photo of a home built ebike using what is probably the planet's most advanced battery from A123. It is parked adjacent to a very pricey commercial ebike, or is it a moped? http://biodiversivist.blogspot.com/2009/10/a2b-verses-a123.html
The price is high, but at least someone is thinking about the future of individual transportation. I'd buy one, if for no other reason to give incentive to keep up the good work.
My electric bike cost me $500, but it's too dangerous to ride it on the main city streets here in Los Angeles so I ride on side walks but it is illegal- there is a law against everything here. In Japan they ride on sidewalks, it's common sense not to ride along next to large vehicles. Electric Bikes will never catch on because people value their lives over the benefits of bicycles.
This bike is a nifty toy, but as transportation and a planet saver it has a couple of drawbacks. Just because a vehicle has no tailpipe does not mean it's non-polluting. The pollution is removed from the immediate vicinity of the user to the vicinity of the power plant. 50% of electricity in US is from burning coal and 20% from burning other stuff. At the same time the power grid (which in much of the US is in none too great a shape) gets loaded more. It is utterly unsurprising that PiMobility is based in California. Most ideas such as this come from that area. An electric bicycle can replace a car in San Francisco. Elsewhere in the world people have winters and it just won't work. This bike is a seasonal alternative at best.
"In 2008 Marcus established an electric motorcycle land speed record at the Bonneville Land Speed Record Trials going 68 miles per hour." This must be incorrect. A bike perhaps? There existed electric motorcycles that went far faster than that before 2008.
Cyclists are a different breed, my road bike cost me just over 3 grand so 2500 for an electric bike Not too much of a stretch. Along with bike lights that cost 350 to 400 dollars so you can actually see at night. I used to be of the "You spent what a bike ???? I can get a perfectly good bike at sears for 99 dollars"So its just a matter of what's impartant to you
False Statement. "Most" hybrids aren't $500-700. The low end in decent quality are. You'll also find MANY $2000-2500 bicycles on the market. But that's irrelevant. The product is worth what people will pay. It doesn't work for you... but some may want the quality, speed and SAFETY of something capable of 60 mph that was designed to go that fast. Personally, I'm not getting on anything that fast without a tried and vetted suspension system. Coming off of a bike at 40 mph is a very dangerous thing. Motorcycles too, but on a motorcycle you've got power and frame on your side, and will be wearing heavy protective gear (if you have any sense.) So .. electric bike seems a bit like an oxymoron in the first place to me, but if you're lazy and want to be on two wheels without polluting.. go for it!
For those of us who don't trust two wheelers (hit a patch of muck or an oil slick and your bike goes sliding out from underneath you), will the units with three or four points of contact with the ground be far behind?
I agree with Hal_9001, that is one very expensive bike, regardless of what it can do. I just bought an electric bike for 499? including batterypack, and that's a price I can live with. Twirth5@ has some points, but much of that text is a bit... exaggerated. As about how to dispose of eco-friendly cars, that's no problem at all since they have been designed to be easily disposable. All parts are marked as to what they are made of, and in my country the fee for disposing a car is paid when you buy the car. So at the end of the cars lifecycle you just leave it to a scrapyard for free.
You would be lucky to get a new eco-friendly auto for less that $15,000. On top of that, you would pay $1,500+ per year for insurance, another $75 per year for plates and fork over more dollars to the oil companies for fuel. You would also not have to constantly be on the lookout for fascist cops and you would get a modicum of exercise at the same time. Additionally, your electric bike should last a lifetime with very little maintenance/mechanic costs while any auto eventually requires considerable repair expenses. Tires are $40. Brake jobs are a DIY affair. There is no muffler or catalytic converter. There are no wheel alignments, cracked windshields, dented panels, timing belts annual inspections, 50 bulbs that eventually need replacement, $500 headlight lenses, yaddi, yaddi, yadda. Finally, once your eco-friendly car reaches its end-of-life, there's big questions on how to dispose of it. The biggest drawbacks of an electric bicycle are load capacity, and road, traffic and weather conditions. However, it makes sense for a number of city dwellers and two-auto families to consider ditching one of their autos and purchasing an electric bicycle while saving tons of money over the years.
$2,500 for a bicycle! - too rich for my blood. Most cross/hybrid bikes are around $500 (up to $700) and this is 5 times as much. I would pay that for a eco-friendly car ... not a bicycle.